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MTB News & Racing Round-up, June 17, 2010

Date published:
June 18, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Team Geronimo visits National Guard Youth Challenge Program

    A young rider gets some assistance while learning to ride a unicycle.
    Article published:
    June 17, 2010, 13:55 BST
    Cycling News

    American Gravity team spends time introducing troubled youth to cycling

    In the throes of the early 2010 race season, Team Geronimo/Banshee Bikes carved out time to pay a visit to the staff and students of the Grizzly Youth Academy.

    The campus at Camp San Luis Obispo is one of 32 such programs located in 28 states across the US, and the program runs 22 weeks. The objective of the National Guard Youth Challenge Program is to give at-risk male and female 16-18 year olds an opportunity to learn a better way of living.

    The students are there by choice, and judging by their attitudes, they have regained their excitement about life. They received the elite mountain bike team with enthusiasm as the magic of bicycling took over.

    Pro racers Michael and Brian Buell, Graeme Pitts and Team Manager Leslie Pitts brought an arsenal of toys for the students to try out: Banshee's Legend MkII, Rampant and Amp, a trials bike and unicycle.

    Starting with a formal assembly on Friday night, complete with slide presentation and question and answer period, Saturday was reserved for the hands-on portion where cadets got to play on the bikes (and uni). There were a few students who had never ridden a bike before, but there were also a few with moto and BMX experience who immediately started hucking whatever they could find.

    Students were introduced to a fun, wonderful and healthy world of cycling, and their imaginations were piqued. Some offered to volunteer with the team on the road

    The ultimate goal of Team Geronimo collaborating with the National Guard Youth Challenge Program is - through private sponsorship - to bring bicycling to their program, which is already heavily based on physical fitness. Major John Oberg administers the program at the SLO campus, and he is a bicycling enthusiast himself, having competed at Sea Otter in the past.

    For more information on the National Guard Youth Challenge Program, visit

  • Absalon's presence questionable for Averbode mountain bike race

    Julien Absalon has won three times in Offenburg
    Article published:
    June 17, 2010, 14:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Nys and Paulissen among those confirmed

    The fourth round of the Belgacom Mountain Bike Grand Prix is scheduled for Sunday, June 20 in Averbode, Belgium. While most of the line-up of favorites is set, one rider, Frenchman Julien Absalon is uncertain whether he will be on the start line.

    Absalon is awaiting the birth of his first child, which could happen any time now. Mother Nature permitting, the Frenchmen will join the others in racing on Sunday.

    Cyclo-cross star Sven Nys is among those confirmed to race. He'll be joined by Roel Paulissen, Bart Aernouts, Nicolas Vermeulen, Jimmy Thielens, Robby De Bock and Thys Al.

    For more information on the Belgacom Mountain Bike Grand Prix, visit

  • Triple Crown Finals head East to the Hoo Ha!

    Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale Factory Racing) will have the home course advantage. He did trailwork to help shape the brand new short track course.
    Article published:
    June 17, 2010, 14:53 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Massanutten round wraps up series

    The inaugural All Mountain Triple Crown series will conclude at the Massanutten Resort, near Harrisonburg, Virginia, on Saturday and Sunday, June 19-20. The series winner and second and third places will take home a combined $10,000 overall payout.

    Heading into the final round, Sho-Air/Specialized's Sid Taberlay holds a slim, five-point lead over current US Cross Country National Champion, Jeremy Horgan Kobelski, with Colin Cares, Russell Finsterwald and Andy Schultz holding down the top five series placings. However, of these contenders, only Tableray and Schultz (Kenda / Felt) are confirmed to race in Virginia.

    They will be challenged by local Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale Factory Racing), Alex Ryan (Champion Systems / Cannondale) and ShoAir / Specialized's Tad Elliot.  Other locals who may give the favorites a run for their money are road pro Nick Waite and Chris Michaels.

    In the women's race, Giant's Kelli Emmett holds a seven-point lead over current US Cross Country National Champion Heather Irmiger in second, with Krista Park, Lene Byberg and Pua Sawicki round out the top five. Emmett is the only one of those riders currently on the start list, although she'll like face a stiff challenge from retired local pro Sue Haywood.

    Locals from the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC) have been hard at work on all the trails throughout the spring, and some of the mountain's best riding will be worked into multiple courses. A multi-year partnership between the club and the resort has produced miles of fun riding and smooth and rocky trails relatively close to the local city of Harrisonburg.

    Leading up to this year's race, Willetts even got a hand on trail clearing and building from the resorts snowmakers. "Usually in the winter, I'd be helping the snowmakers make snow, but this year, we had so much snow, that I had them out there helping me make trails," said Willetts to Cyclingnews.

    As with the...

  • 2011 World Cup to happen without Houffalize round

    José Hermida (Multivan Merida Biking Team), on his way to his sixth career World Cup win
    Article published:
    June 17, 2010, 17:15 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Belgian round may move to another location

    Houffalize, Belgium, will not be a stop on the 2011 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup according to an article by The popular venue will not return for a 19th edition because, according to the UCI, the race's organization can not meet World Cup event standards.

    The 2009 edition almost didn't happen after the race faced financial troubles. It has been the only World Cup mountain bike venue in Belgium for years, and it has been a popular one among racers and fans.

    The most recent World Cup in Houffalize was run the first weekend of May. Jose Antonio Hermida and Eva Lechner won the cross country races while Jared Graves and Jana Horakova won the four cross.

    According to Het Nieuwsblad, there is a chance the Houffalize round will move to Flanders and, in particular, to Winterslag.

  • Champions return to Test of Metal

    Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) climbs.
    Article published:
    June 17, 2010, 20:35 BST
    Cycling News

    Kabush, Plaxton, Simms among favorites for Canadian mountain bike race

    Even if the weather stays cool, this year's edition of the Test of Metal on Saturday, June 19, promises to be sizzling with at least nine past champions, representing 14 first place finishes, on the starting line.

    "It's an unbelievable year," said race organizer Cliff Miller. "We've got confirmation that at least six past champions on the men's side and three from the women will be competing."

    Leading the way is Canada's Geoff Kabush, who won the race in 1998. Kabush will be joined on the starting line by Carter Hovey (1996, 2002, 2004), Michael Pruner (1997), Ricky Federeau (2005), Neal Kindree (2006,2007), and Max Plaxton (2008, 2009).

    Organizers have also heard rumours that Chad Miles (1999, 2000) and Andrew Kyle (2003) are planning to race this year.

    "We're getting close to having all the men who have won since the long course was created in 1996," Miller said.

    On the women's side, 2007 and 2009 champ Catharine Pendrel is expected to be joined by Wendy Simms (2008) and Linda Robichaud (1998).

    "I think that if the weather holds, it's safe to say we will have a new course record set," Miller said. "The course is in fabulous shape, and these guys are going to be pushing one another through the race. It'll be very exciting to watch."

    This is the 15th running of the Test of Metal on the long course in Squamish, and every year the race increases in popularity. This year it sold out the 800 available spots in less then 25 minutes.

    The Test of Metal, a 67-kilometre mountain bike race, has sold out for the last 13 years. The race is run by a not-for-profit group of volunteers and any proceeds from the race are returned to the community through charitable donations. Since its inception, the Test of Metal has donated more than CAN$135,000 to community organizations and events.

    For more information, visit

  • 2012-2013 mountain bike marathon World Championships awarded

    Under 23 women race at the cross country World Championships in Canberra, Australia.
    Article published:
    June 17, 2010, 21:58 BST
    Cycling News

    UCI Management Committee meets in Birmingham

    On its first of two days of meetings in Birmingham, United Kingdom, the UCI Management Committee awarded the marathon World Championships to Ornans, France, in 20012 and to Kirchberg, Austria in 2013.

    The UCI Management Committee also approved a new concept in the development of cycling for all. Cycling for all aims to encourage as many people as possible to take part in cycling, whether as a competitive sport, for leisure or as a healthy and environmentally-friendly means of transport.

    The new concept concerns establishing series of mass-participation events allowing qualification for a final round, both on the road (UCI Gran Fondo and UCI Masters Road World Championships) as well as for mountain biking (UCI Mountain Bike Marathon series and UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships). The first qualification events will take place in 2011.

    Finally, the UCI awarded the 2013 BMX World Championships to Auckland, New Zealand and 2012 Indoor Cycling Championships to Aschaffenburg, Germany, and it agreed to a new program "ReCycling" to encourage event organizers to take sustainability into account when preparing for events.

  • Adelaide to host Australian Championships for next two years

    Rowena Fry on her way to winning the Australian cross country national championship
    Article published:
    June 18, 2010, 12:44 BST
    Cycling News

    Mountain bike nationals moves from January to February

    Mountain Bike Australia and Events South Australia are pleased to announce that the MTBA Australian Mountain Bike National Championships will return to Adelaide but will move to February for the next two years.

    Following a successful competition staged at Eagle Mountain Bike Park in January of this year, the nation's best mountain bike riders will vie for titles from February 22 - 27 in 2011 and from February 21 - 26 in 2012.

    Mountain Bike Australia Executive Officer Tony Scott said the change in date was due to a number of reasons, all of which will benefit the mountain bike community.

    "Eagle Park is a fantastic mountain biking venue and we're looking forward to holding our national titles in Adelaide for the next two years," said Scott.

    "For a number of reasons, we have decided to move the event from January to February in 2011 and 2012.

    "Last season the national championships were held in the middle of the Jayco Australian MTB Series; however the move to February will allow the national championships to be a fitting finale to the summer season.

    "This later date will also provide a more suitable preparation for those riders going on to compete on the international circuit at the conclusion of the Australian season."

    Events South Australia General Manager Hitaf Rasheed said the return of the event to Eagle Park will reinforce Adelaide's reputation as the home of cycling.

    "The 2010 MTBA Australian MTB Championships was a great success, attracting over 700 riders and 4,000 spectators to the event at Adelaide's Eagle Park," said Rasheed.

    "We look forward to hosting the national championships in 2011 and 2012. South Australia has a wonderful calendar of brilliant sporting, arts and cultural festivals and events such as this helps to cement our reputation as Australia's home of cycling."

    South Australian Minister for Recreation and Sport, Michael Wright, said the newly improved tracks...

  • UCI announces 2011 Mountain Bike World Cup

    The squeeze up the climb at start of the Houffalize World Cup.
    Article published:
    June 18, 2010, 18:35 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Series returns to United States and South Africa; new round in Czech

    The UCI announced the 2011 Mountain Bike World Cup schedule on Friday following the second day of meetings by the UCI Management Committee in Birmingham, United Kingdom.

    Next year will feature seven rounds of cross country and downhill and six rounds of four cross. This is more than in 2010, when there were just six rounds of each discipline, but is still less than in 2008, when there were eight rounds of each.

    The series will open with a stop in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, which returns to the circuit after a one-year hiatus. It also returns to Dalby Forest, United Kingdom; Offenburg, Germany; Fort William, Great Britain; and Leogang, Austria. Then it moves to Mont Sainte Anne, Canada, which is coming back to the World Cup circuit after a one-year hiatus due to hosting the World Championship later this season.

    Windham, New York, will host again, making two consecutive years of World Cup racing in the US. And La Bresse will be back hosting a downhill after not being part of the 2010 circuit though it last hosted in 2009, like Pietermaritzburg.

    The Nove Mesto Na Morave in Czech will be a new host for cross country World Cup racing, taking the action to Eastern Europe.

    Finally, the series will conclude with a triple round in Val di Sole, Italy, which is a stop in the 2010 series and hosted the World Championships in 2008.

    The World Cup will not return to Belgium in 2011; the popular Houffalize venue is no longer part of the series.  It struggled to meet financial requirements in 2010 and according to the UCI, did not meet the required standards for a World Cup event.

    2011 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup
    April 23-24: Pietermaritzburg, South Africa (XCO/DHI/4X)
    May 21-22: Yorkshire, Dalby Forest, Great Britain (XCO)
    May 28-29: Offenburg, Germany (XCO)
    June 4-5: Fort William, Great Britain (DHI/4X)
    June 11-12: Leogang, Austria (DHI/4X)
    July 2-3:...